Primary tabs

Short Course
Indigenous knowledge in Mathematics
Although the Mathematics CAPS curriculum calls for the inclusion of indigenous knowledge in the teaching of Mathematics, very few teachers were trained in indigenous knowledge systems. By including the rich South African indigenous knowledge in mathematics teaching, more learners will see the relevance of mathematics in our daily lives. NWU is mandated to offer this short learning programme due to its expertise in the field. There is a large potential market for NWU, as we’ll be the only university offering such a programme. The course is structured in a way to show teachers how problem-based learning, cooperative learning and metacognition could enhance self-directed learning.

Purpose of the course:

In this short learning programme, teachers will be showed how to incorporate indigenous knowledge in the classroom. Participants in the course will engage in various ethno-mathematics learning activities, such as isometric shapes and geometric patterns that underline cultural artefacts and artwork. They will also explore the mathematics that underpin African music. Apart from these ethnomathematical activities, teachers will also be shown how to use generic methods such as De Bono’s thinking hats in the classroom. The programme also includes a visit to the Mphebatho Museum, where they will interact with the holders of indigenous knowledge, and some of the traditional games that showcase mathematical thinking.

Admission requirements:

Admission requirements: 
Any teacher who teaches Mathematics, with or without a Mathematics teaching qualification. However, it is preferred that teachers should have at least one Mathematics module on first-year university or college level.
Learning assumed to be in place: 
Students registering for this short learning course should have a basic understanding of lesson planning, and should have passed any mathematics module on first year university or college level.

Course outcomes and assessment criteria :

Course outcomes and the associated assessment criteria: 

Study Unit


Assessment Criteria

  After completion of this course, participants will: Participant will be assessed on the following criteria:
Demonstrate knowledge of the tenets of indigenous knowledge systems, and its affordances for mathematics education Show mastery when discussing the basic tenets of indigenous knowledge, and motivate for its inclusion from an embodied, situated and distributed cognition perspective
Demonstrate knowledge and skills to effectively incorporate indigenous knowledge in the planning and presentation of mathematics lessons Plan (and present) lessons in which indigenous knowledge is meaningfully integrated with the content prescribed in the CAPS mathematics curriculum
Demonstrate skills to use cultural artefacts to teach ethnomathematics Effectively utilise cultural artefacts, music or indigenous games, to teach mathematics


Students wishing to obtain a certificate of competence will be requested to submit an evidence-based portfolio.
Method of assessment: 
In these portfolios, students will have to provide lesson plans of lessons in which indigenous knowledge was incorporated and include their completed artefact-worksheets. Photographic evidence should also be provided of how cultural artefacts, music or indigenous games were used to teach ethnomathematics in the classroom. The portfolios will also include reflections by teachers on the lessons presented. The student must attend all the contact sessions, and must obtain a minimum of 50% for the total of the portfolio in order to receive a certificate.

Additional information

Mode of delivery: 
Target group: 
All Mathematics teachers (Intermediate, Senior Phase or FET) or Mathematics Literacy teachers would benefit from this short learning course.
Contact us
Telephone number: 
018 285 2821